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On Colleges Losing Their Minds (or Other Tales of Small N Inferences)


According to the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics there were 7,236 Postsecondary Title IV institutions in the US as of 2013 (two- and four-year institutions).  That translates into thousands upon thousands of classes on a given day. Hence, it makes perfect sense to draw grand conclusions about higher education in America from a […]

Another Professor Fired After Another Stupid Tweet


A stupid comment about Hurricane Harvey cost a Florida professor his job.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose


“I am not overawed, and I am not at all disturbed by the proclamation of college professors who never earned a dollar by the sweat of their brow by honest labor.”–Senator Samuel Shortridge (R-CA) in response to “1,028 economists [who] sent a letter of protest, arguing that protectionism would harm the economy and cause a trade […]

How not to be a Dean


Via the LAT: An overdose, a young companion, drug-fueled parties: The secret life of USC med school dean During his tenure as dean, Puliafito kept company with a circle of criminals and drug users who said he used methamphetamine and other drugs with them, a Los Angeles Times investigation found. Puliafito, 66, and these much younger acquaintances […]

Underfunded Higher Ed


Musings on the costs of college.

David Clarke’s Plagiarized Masters Thesis


The infamous former sheriff and current Trump Homeland Security official committed academic fraud.

Reflections on the Passing of Will Moore


When a prominent political scientist committed suicide yesterday, I was deeply struck by how much he was like not only me but most of the people in my professional circle.

DeVos Criticizes Professors

College Degree

DeVos plays to the CPAC crowd, but insults higher education.

Crowley’s Dissertation….


Via Politico:  Trump Pick Monica Crowley Plagiarized Parts of Her Ph.D. Dissertation. An examination of the dissertation and the sources it cites identified around more than a dozen sections of text that have been lifted, with little to no changes, from other scholarly works without proper attribution. In some instances, Crowley footnoted her source but did […]

The Whitelash Backlash

Khizr Khan

So what’s wrong with the Whitelash Backlash thesis?  Not everything, actually.  But plenty.

Plagiarism Plague in Russia


Via Slate:  The Craziest Black Market in Russia.  Apparently, a lot of Russians are paying for dissertations: In the past few years alone, there have been credible allegations of dissertation plagiarism made against Russia’s minister of culture, the governor of St. Petersburg, and the head of the country’s top federal investigating authority. Just in the past […]

Rigor in Professional Military Education


My latest for War on The Rocks, “Professional Military Education and the Rigor Problem, has posted.

Some Thoughts on Grades

College Degree

More accurately, some thoughts on commentary about higher ed.

TCU Opts Out of Texas Campus Carry Law


Via the DMN:  TCU votes to opt out of campus carry Public colleges and universities have drawn most of the attention in the campus carry debate, since they can’t, under the law, totally opt out. And discussions remain ongoing at those campuses over what kind of gun-free zones might be established. But private schools retained the […]

Racial Tensions Getting Ugly at University of Missouri


Massive boycotts and protests likely spell the end of Tim Wolfe’s tenure as president.

Ben Carson Wants To Turn The Department Of Education Into Thought Police

Presidential Hopefuls Address South Carolina Tea Party Convention

Instead of eliminating the Department of Education, Ben Carson wants to give it a new, bizarre, and dangerous mission.

A Question for Sunday

Gun Flag

When may I shoot a student?

Syllabus Selection Sexism


International relations prof mostly assign readings by male scholars. Female profs are slightly less likely to do so.

Donald Trump, Human Bias, and the Art of the Deal


Tomorrow morning, I teach a seminar on “Perception, Cognition, and Biases” as part of our introductory Think, Decide, and Communicate course. Just in time, Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert and author of several related books, has written two interesting blog posts on how the Donald Trump campaign is brilliantly manipulating bias and other weaknesses in […]

Amazing Stat of the Day (U of Phoenix Edition)


The Daily Beast has a piece on the woes of the University of Phoenix:  Death of a Diploma Mill: University of Phoenix Going Down in Flames? There is a lot to be said about this, but I do not have the time at the moment.  Regardless, I was truly shocked by the following stat: According […]

And the Hyperbole Prize Goes to…


…Rod Dreher: A number of you have sent me the Edward Schlosser essay on Vox, headlined, “I’m a Liberal Professor, And My Liberal Students Terrify Me”. It cannot fail to bring to mind the horrors of China’s Cultural Revolution, in which Mao turned the fervor and idealism of students on their professors, creating generational warfare […]

No, College Professors are Not Afraid to Teach Millennials


One more on this topic.

The Rich Get Richer (High Ed Edition)


Via Inside Higher Ed:  Does Harvard Need Your Money? It didn’t take long for the criticisms to begin rolling in after Harvard University announced a $400 million donation to its engineering college. The gift was proudly touted by the university as its largest-ever gift, and a significant step toward reaching the towering $6.5 billion fund-raising goal […]

How Many College Students are There in the US?


Answer:   a lot. For reasons unrelated to my post yesterday I had cause to look up global enrollment figured for US colleges and universities nationwide.  Here are the numbers from National Student Clearinghouse Research Center:   There are reasons that I find it problematic, therefore, to take basically one incident (Kipnis) or even a handful […]

Summing up the Proper Reaction to the Scare over the PC Wave in Academia


Stanford Professor Keith Humphreys writing at The Reality-Based Community: What we really know from the P.C. anecdotes that are being published is that at least some academics are feeling threatened and silenced. But we don’t know that this is happening any more now than at any other time in history, nor that it’s truly a […]

You Can’t Yell “You Did it Baby” at a Crowded Commencement (?)


It is an occupational hazard that I have been to far more commencement ceremonies than most people could ever dream of (or have nightmares about) attending.   At every one I have attended it has been asked of the audience that they hold their applause.  At every one I have attended, this request is ignored by […]

Fear and Paranoia in Academia

College Degree

I have been reading, mostly in passing, a number of pieces about an alleged new climate on college campuses in which students are raising significant complaints due to difficult or emotionally sensitive material. The latest example did not impress me.

Expelling Students From A Public University Over Racist Videos Probably Isn’t Constitutional


Freedom of speech means freedom for all speech, even when it is racially offensive.

Hate Speech and Academic Freedom


Should a professor who says she “hates Republicans” keep her job?

Hatred Won’t Improve the Discourse


Now, granted, communications is not my academic area of expertise, but I am pretty sure that starting off a column with  the sentence “I hate X” pretty much precludes any chance of communicating (at least having discourse with) members of group X. And yet, Susan J. Douglas, Professor  and Chair of Communications at the University […]

Oberlin College Student’s Request For Ferguson-Related Exam Delay Gets Epic Response

Picard Facepalm

An Oberlin College student makes it clear just why she needs an education.

Condoleeza Rice Backs Out As Rutgers Commencement Speaker After Protests


The right decision, or the triumph of mob rule?

Tales from the Dumb Side


Via the AV Club:  Professor suspended for Game Of Thrones shirt that threatened community college kingdom.

Unprofitable Professors Getting Fired


Being a public intellectual doesn’t pay.

On Anti-Intellectualism


Worth a read:  Richard Hofstadter and America’s New Wave of Anti-Intellectualism. it is interesting to note how much of the conversation in contemporary America is not that different from the mid-20th century or so. On quotable passage that struck me: Gore Vidal defined an intellectual as “someone who can deal with abstractions.” Does the mediocrity […]

Picturing a Ph.D.


Not bad:  The Illustrated Guide To A Ph.D. (Although I am not entirely sure it is to scale).

ISA v. Blogs


The International Studies Association (ISA), which is the largest professional organization of persons studying international relations and is, therefore, a major organization within the discipline of political science and related fields, has issued a proposed new guideline for editors of ISA journals:. The issue of “maintaining and promoting a professional environment” is particularly pertinent to […]

Harvard’s Confusing Bathrooms


According to the Harvard Crimson, apparently a lot of the university’s students are confused about which lavatory to use.